HealthDay News — In 2018, the overall prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) was 2.3 percent among 8-year-olds, and there has been progress in early identification, according to two surveillance summaries published in the Dec. 3 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Matthew J. Maenner, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the prevalence and characteristics of ASD among children aged 8 years in 2018 who lived in 11 Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network sites. The researchers found that across all 11 ADDM sites, ASD prevalence per 1,000 children aged 8 years in 2018 ranged from 16.5 to 38.9 in Missouri and California, respectively. The overall prevalence of ASD was 23.0 per 1,000 (one in 44 children), with prevalence 4.2 times higher among boys versus girls.
Kelly A. Shaw, Ph.D., also from the CDC, and colleagues reported the prevalence of ASD among children aged 4 years in 2018. The researchers found that the prevalence of ASD was 17.0 per 1,000 (one in 59) children aged 4 years overall in 2018. There was variation observed in prevalence, from 9.1 to 41.6 per 1,000 in Utah and California, respectively. Prevalence was higher among boys than girls at every site, with an overall male-to-female prevalence ratio of 3.4. The cumulative incidence of ASD diagnosis or eligibility received by age 48 months was 1.5 times as high for children aged 4 versus those aged 8 years (13.6 versus 8.9 per 1,000 children born in 2014 versus 2010).
“Cumulative incidence of ASD identification by age 48 months was higher among children born in 2014 compared with those born in 2010, which further suggests improvements in early identification have occurred,” Shaw and colleagues write.